Sorcerer Level 3 Encounter power selection...

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erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Here's the deal...my sorcerer does not pick any powers that do not have the lightning keyword. It's part of her background so please don't say take Flame Spiral, I know how completely awesome that power is...just doesn't fit my character concept. Yes I know about Arcane Admixture but that isn't until paragon so until then...taking other powers is not an option.

My choices for this third level encounter power are:

Lightning Daggers – a minor action, 2(w) in lightning damage which comes out to 2d4+6 for this character, as the Storm Power bonus of +4 and a +2 for the +2 implement enchantment 


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Or


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Dancing Lightning – a standard action, 2d10+cha of lightning damage and it does splash damage to all adjacent creatures equal to cha modifier. This comes out to 2d10+16 (+5cha, +2 enchantment, +2 off handed bonus, +4 Storm Power, +1 feat, +2 Superior Implement Lancing)


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The question is...is the minor action weapon attack a better choice over the standard action with a significant damage increase. My character is hardly ever in melee...but I have to admit that the minor action would be a tempting selection...I just can't see the long range sorcerer jumping into melee every encounter to get use out of it. An unused encounter power is a wasted one...


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Any one have any good reasons for one or the other pick? Any input would be helpful ^^

Lightning Cuts is probably the better power. Remember, using Lightning Cuts means that you also get to use another standard action attack that round, so while it might look like it has lower damage, you can probably get more damage out of using both Lightning Cuts and another attack power in the same round than you could by using just Dancing Lightning alone.

For future questions like these, it might be worth it to check out the Sorcerer Handbook. :-)

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What magic item are you using for implement attacks?  A lightning dagger to convert all your attacks into lightning might be up your alley.

But yea, generally minor action attacks will give better DPR since you can combine it with a standard action power for an encounter nova attack.  The mods get better as you get higher in level. 
This is more of a Houserule thing, but have you asked your DM if you can retype powers to make them Lightning instead of whatever?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I took dancing lightning on mine. As they sat, lightning daggers is a minor action. I didn't want to be up that close it's not perfect by any means, but it does hit pretty hard and can clear out a couple of minions. I also have a fairly solid front line in my group, so staying away is more the default than a wish.

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Here's the deal...my sorcerer does not pick any powers that do not have the lightning keyword. It's part of her background so please don't say take Flame Spiral, I know how completely awesome that power is...just doesn't fit my character concept. Yes I know about Arcane Admixture but that isn't until paragon so until then...taking other powers is not an option.

My choices for this third level encounter power are:

Lightning Daggers – a minor action, 2(w) in lightning damage which comes out to 2d4+6 for this character, as the Storm Power bonus of +4 and a +2 for the +2 implement enchantment 


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Or


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Dancing Lightning – a standard action, 2d10+cha of lightning damage and it does splash damage to all adjacent creatures equal to cha modifier. This comes out to 2d10+16 (+5cha, +2 enchantment, +2 off handed bonus, +4 Storm Power, +1 feat, +2 Superior Implement Lancing)


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">The question is...is the minor action weapon attack a better choice over the standard action with a significant damage increase. My character is hardly ever in melee...but I have to admit that the minor action would be a tempting selection...I just can't see the long range sorcerer jumping into melee every encounter to get use out of it. An unused encounter power is a wasted one...


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Any one have any good reasons for one or the other pick? Any input would be helpful ^^



Glad I read the post before replying, because I would have just said flame spiral Innocent

Since you're only choosing lightning powers, I'm going to assume that at level 7 you'll be taking Spark Form (because it's amazing).  So what I would do is take Dancing Lightning right now, and then at level 7 when you get Spark Form, retrain Dancing Lightning into Lightning Cuts since you'll now have a very good reason to be closer to melee regardless of a monsters tendencies to walk up to you and try to punch you.  It also should be doing a bit more damage at that point (Dual Implement Spellcaster applies, even if CB doesn't add it properly, and an Eberron Shard of Lightning if that is also allowed)
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
I have two reasons I think Lightning Cuts has potential.

1) Arcane ranged characters have the tendency to stand back and do their work a distance.   That mostly makes sense.  But healing surges are a party resource and those ranged characters should be spending some of theirs, but that means they need to be hit too.  So having a power that gets you in melee isn't a terrible deal.   Do it near a defender and you'll even help him to his job.  Plus a number of sorcerer utilities can help get you back out of the situation.  Also from time to time a ranged character gets caught in a bad spot, a minor action attack is a nice way to help clear that target out of the way.

2) How many times have we seen a bloodied standard enemy damaged two more times but it just doesn't die.  That minor action attack can help clear the board and save party resources.

With some good tactics I think the power could be useful and fun.

Lightning Daggers – a minor action, 2(w) in lightning damage which comes out to 2d4+6 for this character, as the Storm Power bonus of +4 and a +2 for the +2 implement enchantment 

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Or


erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif">Dancing Lightning – a standard action, 2d10+cha of lightning damage and it does splash damage to all adjacent creatures equal to cha modifier. This comes out to 2d10+16 (+5cha, +2 enchantment, +2 off handed bonus, +4 Storm Power, +1 feat, +2 Superior Implement Lancing)




Your math here doesn't make sense to me. Based on your calculations for Dancing Lightning, I'm going to assume you're starting with two +2 implements, at least one of which is a Lancing Dagger. If that's the case, then you should be dealing 2d4+8 damage for Lightning Cuts: Storm Power for +4, the enhancement bonus for +2, and Lancing for +2.

For reference, the wording on Energized:

Energized (lightning) (When you use an attack power through an energized implement, you gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls if the power has the keyword that matches the implement’s damage type...)

I find it very hard to think that stabbing someone with the dagger is not "using an attack power through [the dagger]".
Lightning Cuts doesn't have the Implement keyword. Powers without the Implement keyword gain no benefit from Superior Implements. He's right on his math.

The question of why he isn't using a Lightning Staff hasn't been answered though.
Might be that the campaign isn't up to 5th level weapons yet. Might be that his party is poorly setup to exploit Flame/lightning spiral. Might be that he just likes daggers more.
Lightning Cuts doesn't have the Implement keyword. Powers without the Implement keyword gain no benefit from Superior Implements. He's right on his math.



Ah. Had to search a bit to find it (as in, check the actual books instead of the handy on-line references), but you're absolutely correct. Per the section labled Superior Implement Properties (cleverly enough): A superior implement's properties apply only to attacks made with the implement. They affect only implement powcrs. even if an implement can be used to make weapon attacks.

Apologies. Carry on without me.
Lightning Cuts doesn't have the Implement keyword. Powers without the Implement keyword gain no benefit from Superior Implements. He's right on his math.

The question of why he isn't using a Lightning Staff hasn't been answered though.



Why should I use a Lightning Staff?

Yeah I know the lightning dagger/weapon bit...but I hate the idea of having a lightning based character using the excuse that they have a nifty dagger for the lightning...the character's background is that she was struck by a lightning bolt and thinks that it gave her the powers...so taking Flame Spiral and switching it to lightning through a dagger just doesn't make sense :/

 Not to mention the character has the feat to use the Superior Implement (lancing dagger)...so I have to use a dagger to get the +2 to lightning attacks

Hmm...maybe I will take the suggestion of retraining to the weapon attack at 7th level because the Spark Form will be sticking me in melee for a bit... 
You could use a Lightning Lancing Dagger as easily as you could use a Lightning Staff.

(Now I know this doesn't deal with your 'feel' objection, I'm just saying, sticking to a dagger is not an issue for lightning weapon.)


Personally, I have no problem reflavoring my lightning weapon to be just a vanilla +X and all my powers to be lightning because of me (an RP explanation which has no effect on game mechanics), but that's me, and I am not you.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
Might be that the campaign isn't up to 5th level weapons yet. Might be that his party is poorly setup to exploit Flame/lightning spiral. Might be that he just likes daggers more.


If he has a +2 enhancement then they're obviously up to level 6 magic items at the least...

I just kinda assumed the issue of the Lightning Staff was covered in the OP where he says only Lightning powers, but it's certainly worth mentioning that Staff > Dagger thanks to essentials killing weapliment expertise except for the staff (And Staff Expertise being so very very good), even when you consider Lancing being better than Accurate by a decent margin.

I off-hand a Dagger to use Lightning Cuts with, and make sure to use it on nova rounds where I'm getting +12 or more to my damage rolls (high paragon)
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Why should I use a Lightning Staff?

Yeah I know the lightning dagger/weapon bit...but I hate the idea of having a lightning based character using the excuse that they have a nifty dagger for the lightning...the character's background is that she was struck by a lightning bolt and thinks that it gave her the powers...so taking Flame Spiral and switching it to lightning through a dagger just doesn't make sense :/

 Not to mention the character has the feat to use the Superior Implement (lancing dagger)...so I have to use a dagger to get the +2 to lightning attacks

Hmm...maybe I will take the suggestion of retraining to the weapon attack at 7th level because the Spark Form will be sticking me in melee for a bit... 

Why wouldn't you make a distinction between fluff and mechanics? Are all your spells doing lightning damage? Yep. Done.

I've played an Acid based Sorc who had an extensive back story based around it. You know what I did? Picked good powers and described them differently. I make custom power cards for myself so I even renamed them and modified the fluff text, but mechanically? It was just Flame Spiral.

Don't get hung up on letting mechanics dictate your choices. Make choices you actually like and refluff as needed.
Why wouldn't you make a distinction between fluff and mechanics? Are all your spells doing lightning damage? Yep. Done.

I've played an Acid based Sorc who had an extensive back story based around it. You know what I did? Picked good powers and described them differently. I make custom power cards for myself so I even renamed them and modified the fluff text, but mechanically? It was just Flame Spiral.

Don't get hung up on letting mechanics dictate your choices. Make choices you actually like and refluff as needed.



There are two rather distinct stages of refluffing that you're doing, Alcestis, and I'm not sure they're equally acceptable in all gaming circles.

First, and most superficially, there is the matter of description, fluff text, and name. This is relatively minor in terms of game impact, both story- and combat-wise. All but the most RAW-junkie DMs would likely have no problem with such refluffing -- some even actively encourage it, especially if it helps the player get into their character.

Second, though, is the matter of the mechanics of the power itself. In your example of an Acid sorcerer casting a re-fluffed Flame Spiral, the question must be raised: What type of damage does the power actually do?  Casting "Acid" Spiral and dealing fire damage would take some pretty creative fluff indeed, especially with more esoteric combinations (Cold damage? Psychic damage?). While it could certainly be done, it could also lead to confusion for the other players and the DM. ("Alright, you cast Acid Strike on the orc! Now, what sort of damage does that one do again?") The other option (obviously) is to change the mechanics of the powers to fit your fluff -- "Acid" Spiral really does acid damage, has the Acid keyword, loses the Fire keyword, etc. This level of mechanical change might be beyond the comfort level of DMs or players, especially when it comes to elemental keywords and their interactions. Moreover, it opens the door to other potential abuses ("My Avenger is from the arctic north, and he's been blessed by Pelor, so all his attacks are radiant and cold damage instead of their normal types"). 

I certainly don't mean to speak for the OP, but it takes a certain comfort with the system and willingness (on part of DM and player) to knowingly set aside some parts of it which don't fit what is desired. I would personally be very hesitant to allow such changes in games I DM when there are suitable alternatives available, because I feel that some of my players would take advantage of it. We take the mechanics as given and refluff them to our needs. 
But I was suggesting that he just use a Lighting Staff and refluff that his powers were natively that way, and refluffing it he does this naturally. He's giving up his weapon enchant, it should be fine.

And yes I kept track of what type of damage the powers actually did. There was no mechanical impact at all. Just fluff. That is kind of my point. There needn't be any association between the mechanics and the fluff. Fluff things however you want to.
I know its just fluff and the game allows you to change power keywords into others on the basis of a weapon selection...I just don't like that mechanic. The power is called Flame Spiral, not Lightning Spiral...and there is a reason they made Arcane Admixture a Paragon level feat...you shouldn't be allowed to completely change or add keywords until then.

It's a lightning sorcerer and if she were to just pick up a weapon that allows her to change all her powers into lightning damage, she wouldn't actually BE a lightning sorcerer. I get the whole 'you could offer it be a generic x dagger but for me as a player it just complicates everything, not to mention the Character Builder doesn't allow for much customzation so I would have to keep track of the various pluses I get from feats and what not applied to lightning powers. For me that would be a mechanical impact.

I am not a complete CharaOP builder so I don't mind only taking the certian power selection to maintain character development and the group I play with are not optimizers at all either ^^
Rabid, it's not a mechanical impact. Take a level 10 lightning staff. Yes, you are casting all your spells through it so that they are now lightning. Refluff? You are using a level 6 magic staff and it's you changing the flame spiral into a lightning spiral just through force of will and the ability that the lightning bolt gave you when it struck. You still technically have a level 10 weapon, but does it matter that you claim it's level 6 and it's really you doing it? Nope, not unless you somehow lose the staff. Then what happens? Your flame spiral is once again a flame spiral and your character is questioning why he can't change powers to be lightning any more. So he goes on a quest to recapture his old ability. Then he finds another lightning weapon and all is right with the world.

As for keeping track of everything, well, that's easy. With the exception of Lightning Cuts, the only difference between some powers is they add in Cha mod and others don't. So you look at one power, see what the mods are, and use that for your other non-lightning powers. Sometimes you might have to subtract your Cha mod (like in the case of Flame Spiral), but even if you weren't using a lightning weapon, you would have to do that anyway.

 
Rabid, it's not a mechanical impact. Take a level 10 lightning staff. Yes, you are casting all your spells through it so that they are now lightning. Refluff? You are using a level 6 magic staff and it's you changing the flame spiral into a lightning spiral just through force of will and the ability that the lightning bolt gave you when it struck. You still technically have a level 10 weapon, but does it matter that you claim it's level 6 and it's really you doing it? Nope, not unless you somehow lose the staff. Then what happens? Your flame spiral is once again a flame spiral and your character is questioning why he can't change powers to be lightning any more. So he goes on a quest to recapture his old ability. Then he finds another lightning weapon and all is right with the world.

As for keeping track of everything, well, that's easy. With the exception of Lightning Cuts, the only difference between some powers is they add in Cha mod and others don't. So you look at one power, see what the mods are, and use that for your other non-lightning powers. Sometimes you might have to subtract your Cha mod (like in the case of Flame Spiral), but even if you weren't using a lightning weapon, you would have to do that anyway.

 


"I switch weapons in order to gain some other benefit and suddenly I can't cast lightning spells" is really bad story fluff, even by charop standards.  Yes, by not taking Flame Spiral, you're effectively 2 PC turns worse on defeating an encounter if you are capable of abusing the slide (Flame Spiral vs Lightning Cuts if you can't abuse the slide is is like, half an attack difference), but you aren't as crippled as say, playing a Sentinel.

Lightning Effects: Tempest Magic (as opposed to Implement Focus): +1 damage (+2 when bloodied), Lancing's Energized (lightning) property: +2 damage, Elemental Echo + Promise of Storm: +1 attack +1d8+2 damage, Storm Step: Ability to teleport next to targets hit by lightning powers. (all of this applies to Lightning Cuts).  So yeah, that's a decent ammount to keep track of if you aren't using a lightning power.

Not to mention he's going to lose whatever other property he might have on his dagger.  While nothing compares to Staff of Ruin (and that includes a Lightning Weapon once you hit paragon), thare are other very good choices for daggers (MH Subtle, OH Prime Shot, Winged, Viscious, Rhythm Blade, Melegaunt's/Jagged)
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
Don't lightning/flaming weapons only affect untyped damage since essentials?
 
Don't lightning/flaming weapons only affect untyped damage since essentials?
 



That update was only applied to flaming weapons, not the others.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
"I switch weapons in order to gain some other benefit and suddenly I can't cast lightning spells" is really bad story fluff, even by charop standards.  Yes, by not taking Flame Spiral, you're effectively 2 PC turns worse on defeating an encounter if you are capable of abusing the slide (Flame Spiral vs Lightning Cuts if you can't abuse the slide is is like, half an attack difference), but you aren't as crippled as say, playing a Sentinel.

Lightning Effects: Tempest Magic (as opposed to Implement Focus): +1 damage (+2 when bloodied), Lancing's Energized (lightning) property: +2 damage, Elemental Echo + Promise of Storm: +1 attack +1d8+2 damage, Storm Step: Ability to teleport next to targets hit by lightning powers. (all of this applies to Lightning Cuts).  So yeah, that's a decent ammount to keep track of if you aren't using a lightning power.

Not to mention he's going to lose whatever other property he might have on his dagger.  While nothing compares to Staff of Ruin (and that includes a Lightning Weapon once you hit paragon), thare are other very good choices for daggers (MH Subtle, OH Prime Shot, Winged, Viscious, Rhythm Blade, Melegaunt's/Jagged)


Tempest Magic, Lancing's Energized (lightning property), Elemental Echo + Promise of Storm, and Storm Step all apply when using a lightning weapon to change flame spiral into lightning spiral. After all, you've just made a lightning attack. The only thing you don't get? If you are using two primary weapons, whichever weapon you would use when making normal lightning attacks (as opposed to when making non-lightning attacks and using the lightning weapon to make them lightning). That's ... not hard to calculate. At all. It's extremely easy to have your damage wrote down when using the lightning weapon and when using the other weapon. The difference will be slim and certainly worth it. In fact, by definition it has to be worth the difference - otherwise you would have selected the best lightning power available.

So in one hand you use the Lancing Lightning Dagger and in the other you use a Lancing Prime Shot Dagger. When you use a normally non-Lightning power, it's now lightning. When you use a power that is normally lightning, you do +1 damage. This is not hard to calculate.

For fluff purposes, how often will he actually be without his Lightning Dagger? I've never actually had a weapon taken away from me in 4e as it is very, very hard to do. And, if it should somehow happen, that just opens up more roleplay opportunities, as I expressed before. As far as the flavor is concerned, it's him changing the powers to lightning. Mechanically, it's not, but that does not matter unless he somehow loses that lightning weapon. And even then, it only matters during the heroic tier, since if it's such a horrible thing to use a lightning weapon, it is easy enough to grab the feat to add on lightning damage. 

If the player has objections to refluffing, that's fine. I'm not critiquing him/her in any way saying that he should play his/her character in a different way. It's his/her character. But if the player is okay with refluffing, he/she gains a lot more by using a Lightning Weapon and picking superior powers and using a second implement for the others. It also lets him/her stick with his theme and backstory.
I completely understand where you are coming from here...but I loath the idea that a weapon makes your character background. Its a lightning Sorcerer...not a sorcerer who has a cheesy dagger to turn everything into lightning. She is a walking, talking halfling sized lightning bolt in the flesh...how can you justify this background with using a lightning dagger? I can't...maybe others who aren't vested in staying with a character concept, even to the point of power limitations. Am not a power gamer...I just wanted to hear from the board over the two powers to see which is a better choice

Also, I went with the dagger because she is a halfling and I could easily get my hands on a goblin totem dagger to make up for the staff of ruin as a totem dagger + to enchants comes earlier than a staff of ruin and cheaper. I know the staff expertise feat is awesome...but she is wearing a set of +1 Shimmering cloth armor, which lets me use ranged attacks without provoking

To me, keeping in line with the character concept is more important than being able to have the cream of the crop powers that every other sorcerer had. The DM and other players aren't power gamers and the DM understands that our characters may not be the best of the best so he tones down if needed.
Again, those people are are staying with the concept. They're ignoring where the lightning comes from mechanically and refluffing it. You make it sound like they don't have integrity and that simply isn't the case. Crunch and fluff don't need to conflict with each other with sufficient imagination. If they ever do it is evidence of insufficient imagination. You can stay with your character concept and have a mechanically strong character.

/shrug. I don't see why this is so complicated or anything to be looked down on.
Again, those people are are staying with the concept. They're ignoring where the lightning comes from mechanically and refluffing it. You make it sound like they don't have integrity and that simply isn't the case. Crunch and fluff don't need to conflict with each other with sufficient imagination. If they ever do it is evidence of insufficient imagination. You can stay with your character concept and have a mechanically strong character.

/shrug. I don't see why this is so complicated or anything to be looked down on.


Because the build doesn't work at level 1.  Maybe it works for a character "design" but Thor without Mjolnir is just Thor, not Thor - God of Thunder, and I believe that's specifically what rabid is trying to avoid.  More Storm or Iceman, less Juggernaut/Iron Man/Thor.

It's not anything to be looked down on, and it's not complicated, and while I shouldn't speak for rabid, I don't think he wants to do it, period.
"Invokers are probably better round after round but Wizard dailies are devastating. Actually, devastating is too light a word. Wizard daily powers are soul crushing, encounter ending, havoc causing pieces of awesome." -AirPower25 Sear the Flesh, Purify the Soul; Harden the Heart, and Improve the Mind; Born of Blood, but Forged by Fire; The MECH warrior reaches perfection.
I completely understand where you are coming from here...but I loath the idea that a weapon makes your character background. Its a lightning Sorcerer...not a sorcerer who has a cheesy dagger to turn everything into lightning. She is a walking, talking halfling sized lightning bolt in the flesh...how can you justify this background with using a lightning dagger? I can't...maybe others who aren't vested in staying with a character concept, even to the point of power limitations. Am not a power gamer...I just wanted to hear from the board over the two powers to see which is a better choice

Also, I went with the dagger because she is a halfling and I could easily get my hands on a goblin totem dagger to make up for the staff of ruin as a totem dagger + to enchants comes earlier than a staff of ruin and cheaper. I know the staff expertise feat is awesome...but she is wearing a set of +1 Shimmering cloth armor, which lets me use ranged attacks without provoking

To me, keeping in line with the character concept is more important than being able to have the cream of the crop powers that every other sorcerer had. The DM and other players aren't power gamers and the DM understands that our characters may not be the best of the best so he tones down if needed.

I ended up taking a jagged lancing dagger on my storm sorc for similar reasons. Mechanically, ya, It's better. I could refluff. But it just didn't seem right to me for some reason.
I am not looking down on people for using the lightning weapon...I am just not a fan of allowing the weapon selection be the reason for the PC's unique ability. You could refluff it so its just a generic weapon but then the powers themselves loose they own uniquness for being what they are.

I don't think I am crippling the character by taking Dancing Lighting instead of Flame Spiral...and maybe when the character gets the paragon feat that allows me to add lightning to the keywords, I'll retrain into taking Flame Spiral; at that time it will also come with the keyword I am looking for because of the characters ability and not a weapon. 

As Zathris said...I am looking for Storm and not Thor ^^